Apple Music still has a ways to go before it catches up to Spotify, but with 20 million paying subscribers already on the books, Apple’s relatively new streaming service is doing quite well just 17 months after its release. With an Apple Music subscription costing $9.99 at a minimum, it stands to reason that the company has already recouped the $3 billion it spent to acquire Beats in May of 2014.
In a new profile of Apple’s streaming service, The New York Times recently interviewed Apple Music executives Larry Jackson and Jimmy Iovine where the two discussed a wide range of topics, including the company’s never-ending quest to secure exclusives and even Jackson and Iovine’s relationship with Kanye West.
Of particular interest is that Apple Music is being positioned as a marketing platform as much as it is a music platform. To this point, Apple’s music executives are eager to point out that many albums that premiere exclusively on Apple Music, coupled with a promotional push from Apple, end up performing exceedingly well on the charts.
Drake wasn’t the only one to benefit. Albums this year from Travis Scott, Future and DJ Khaled all debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart as Apple Music exclusives, as did “Blonde” by Frank Ocean, who rattled the industry when he ditched his label to work directly with the streaming service. Chance the Rapper’s Grammy-nominated mixtape, “Coloring Book,” was not sold at all and was available to stream only via Apple for two weeks.
As far as Apple’s ongoing effort to secure exclusives is concerned, one of the ways the company is able to convince artists to sign on the dotted line is that the company, via its marketing muscle and iTunes footprint, can provide promotional assistance in a manner that Spotify simply can’t match. With Drake in particular, Apple went so far as to sponsor the rapper’s 60-city Summer Sixteen tour this past summer.
Of course, Apple can’t always secure every exclusive it sets its eyes on. Iovine, for example, told the Times that he would have loved to get Adele’s most recent album as an Apple Music exclusive but that it just wasn’t feasible.
For anyone interested in a behind the scenes look at the individuals largely tasked with driving Apple Music forward, make sure to check out the entire interview via the source link below.